Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sex as a Weapon

The WTIT Blog’s feature A DJ’s Take has been one of our most popular features. Today we continue our latest version of this feature that we have "sub-titled" 5 Random Songs. When writing this, we simply pick out five songs (at random...who'd a thunk?) that we have grown to love over the years. We hope to share with you some of the background of the songs and of course why this music is important to us. Sometimes it is because of the trival nature of the song, sometimes it's the song's history. Today let's look at these five songs:

The Pusher by Steppenwolf. While Hoyt Axton attempted to make a living singing his own music, he is better known for writing the hits of others. He wrote Never Been to Spain and Joy to the World covered by Three Dog Night, The No-No Song, an anti-drug song for Ringo Starr and The Pusher recorded first by The Sparrows, but popularized by Steppenwolf. The Pusher became a huge song when used in the 1969 counter-culture film Easy Rider. It was one of the first major anti-drug songs during the era that mostly saw songwriters praise drugs both through song and example. While Hoyt Axton had a couple of hits of his own, he also acted in movies and television. Axton died at age 61 in 1999 after a series of heart attacks.

Sex as a Weapon by Pat Benatar. It did not get bigger for a female rocker in the 80’s than Pat Benatar. She won Grammies in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. While Heartbreaker was her first mega-hit from 1979’s In the Heat of the Night and Hit Me With Your Best Shot from 1980’s Crime of Passion is probably her best known and signiture song, we always found Sex as a Weapon her most intriguing song.

Pat’s main songwriter was her guitarist Neil Giraldo. He became her second and still current husband in 1982. We always felt that this song was out of time and space. Do men really use sex as a weapon? We think it is usually the other way around. So what? It was her husband who wrote the song and it shows. It was released on 1985’s Seven the Hard Way. That album was an attempt by Pat and her band to move to a bit more mainstream place and less the rebellious rocker that made her famous. While she released albums after this, she was essentially done. By the time that Neil and Pat recorded a edgie rock album again it was the early 90’s and rock had changed. Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrosette and Jewel were now in place. All in all though, she is one of the best ever.

Tainted Love by Soft Cell. Ed Cobb, a legendary songwriter, wrote this song. Does the name sound familiar? He also wrote Dirty Water that was a hit by the Standells featured in this space not long ago. Gloria Jones originally recorded Tainted Love as a soul song in 1964. While her discography includes a series of songs recorded in the sixties (no we never heard of her either), she made her living as a back up singer to the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. We had not heard her version until yesterday when we wrote this piece. While it is similar to the Soft Cell hit, Soft Cell added the famous “boink-boink” sound. Marc Almond and David Ball were the members of the British band that had just recorded a major flop. The record company pushed the song on them. It became one the biggest hits of the 80’s, but while Soft Cell was a one hit wonder in the US, in the UK they sold a ton of records for several years in the early 80’s.

Jenny (867-5309) by Tommy Tutone. There is no Tommy Tutone. The leader of the band Tommy Tutone was lead singer Tommy Heath and the original band name was Tommy and the Tutones. Jim Keller was the guitarist, and he had a friend named Alex Call who came up with the "name and number" and was trying to write a song with it, but was not yet really a songwriter. As it turns out, the name and number meant nothing. Like there is no Tommy Tutone, there is no Jenny. We won't even touch on Santa. But when Jim Keller heard the idea and was told Jenny and the number meant nothing, he countered that it should be a phone number and message on a bathroom wall. While laughing at this absurb srory, the two wrote the whole song in fifteen minutes.

When the song came out the band used a story about how it was a true story, but of course it was not. From there the band with no fanfare recorded the song. Alex Call would end up as original lead singer of Clover, which became most notable for its harmonica player and later lead singer Huey Lewis. The stories of the amount of calls people who happened to have that number are legendary. Alex Call still is in the music business and recorded an album in 2004 with Jenny (867-5309) on it. Tommy Heath is now a computer analyst.

Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There is not much to tell and so much to tell about this song. We were in college on May 4th 1970 and very active in the anti-war movement. We remember the horror when we found out that the National Guard had killed four unarmed protesting students at Kent State. We were home that weekend and returned to Boston on the Sunday night to find the students on strike.

We would not attend another class that year. We were head of communications for the student strike, which mostly meant we did a lot of interviews. The amazing thing is how fast this song went from being written by Neil Young and recorded by CSN&Y and released in ten days. And unlike Neil’s similar effort after 9/11 with the song Let’s Roll, Ohio was a terrific song and still a classic. Neil Young has acknowledged it was the best song he wrote for the band. And let us add our current continued opposition to the current illegal war in Iraq. We thought the nation learned a lesson in getting involved in other country’s civil wars. The only reason that the country isn’t in as much turmoil now as it was then: There is no draft. Those fighting in this war chose the military. Not that the majority hasn’t got more than it bargained for, but that is the truth. George and Dick cannot go away soon enough. And fuck McCain and his “stay there 100 years” shit. He’ll only be 170 years old when we are done. Old men forcing wars on young people to fight. It is time for the madness to end.
That will do it for the Thursday
edition of the WTIT Blog.
We hope you enjoyed our 5 Random
"Blasts from the Past" on this week's
A DJ's Take.
Next time we will attempt to actually
do something incredibly funny. Or perhaps
we will settle for anything even"mildly amusing".
We tend to set our standards not very high.
We are happy that you read
our nonsense on WTIT: The Blog.
Join us next time.
We will do Dating Profiles of the Week.
Same time. Same blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paris As a Role Model, U2 and a "W"!

Sometimes it is not about the money. Not with me, mind you, but you have to respect a recent decision by one of the top rock bands of all time, U2. Bono and the boys were offered over $20 million dollars to license the 1987 song “Where the Streets Have No Name.” As someone who gets almost gets physically ill when a Beatle song is used in a commercial, I applaud the move. I mean John Lennon did not write “Revolution” to promote Nike footwear. Not that he or for that matter any of the Beatles were involved. John had already passed away and Michael Jackson had outbid Paul McCartney for song rights.

Bono said that the hardest part of decision was that the $20 million dollars could have helped an enormous amount of people in Africa. Bono has spent a tremendous amount of money and time helping Africa with its AIDS crisis. Bono, who has been nominated for two Peace prize nominations stated, “"So we thought, we'll give the money away. But if we tell people we're giving the money away, it sounds pompous." While I understand his statement, I think that for me the bigger picture was that once you slide down that slope, it would be easier to sell more songs. And maybe it would not go to charity the next time.

In a follow up to Monday’s interview with Britney, Paris Hilton came to Britsy-poop’s defense today. Paris said the media is rotten for suggesting that partying all night and flashing her “Geritol package” does not a bad mother make. Since Paris Hilton is my role model for all things cerebral, I am thrilled she checked in…

I can Black-Tie. "I can black-eye. You have been warned....."

Thanks for spending Hump Day with us.
We hope to see you back tomorrow
when we promise that we will not take
too much very seriously then, either!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WTIT Top 10 R&B Female Singers

WTIT Tape Radio Blog brings you today our feature called A DJ’s Take and another one of our "Best of" lists. Today we bring you our Top 10 Female R&B Singers of all time. Please feel free to “take this feature" and do it as a meme to present your opinions. Today, we will share. We will give you the artist and a bit of their bio. Let’s cue up today's A DJ's Take!

10. Donna Summer was born on New Year’s Eve 1948. Her biggest hits were released in the 1970’s. She became one of the premiere female disco singers, but in our opinion she would have succeeded in any era. “Love to Love You Baby”, “It’s Raining Men” and “Last Dance” are some of her huge hits.

9. Gloria Gaynor was born September 7, 1949. She is another of the disco queens of the 1970’s. Her biggest hit was “I Will Survive” and to this day rings true to a lot of folks. “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Let Me Know (I Have a Right)” are another couple of big songs for Gloria.

8. Mariah Carey was born on March 27, 1970 in New York City. Her biggest hits include “Always Be My Baby”, “We Belong Together” and “Fantasy”. She popped on the national scene and has almost every conceivable award since. She is currently still a huge force in music.

7. Janet Jackson was born May 16, 1966. Her brothers were already superstars by the time Janet released her first album in 1982. It wasn’t until she hooked up with two of the men behind “Prince” (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) that she became a star. She released the album “Control” in 1986, which yielded five hit songs, videos choreographed by Paula Abdul. Her first nominations and awards came from “Control”. Janet still sells music to this day. But who will ever forget that Superbowl "Wardrobe Malfunction"?

6. Patti Labelle was born May 24, 1944 as Patricia Holt. She was the driving force to Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles in the 1960’s. When the Supremes needed a replacement for Florence Ballard they grabbed Cindy Birdsong from the Bluebelles. Patti and Cindy did not talk for eighteen years because of that. Their biggest hit was “Lady Marmalade” in the 1970’s.

5. Whitney Houston was born August 9, 1963. Considering the magnitude of her talent it will always be her rocky on and off relationship with husband Bobby Brown and drug problems that immediately come to mind at the mention of her name. Her self titled album in 1985 yielded five hit singles. Her last big album was released in 2002. At one point in the 80’s she had seven number one hits in a row breaking a record shared by The Beatles and the Bee Gees.

4. Martha Reeves was born July 18, 1941. She and her two friends were back-up singers to Marvin Gaye in the early 60’s. When Mary Wells didn’t show to record a song, they had Marvin’s back-up singers try it. It became the first hit from Martha Reeves and the Vendellas. Some others include “Dancing in the Street”, “(Love is Like a) Heat Wave” and “Nowhere to Run”.

3. Tina Turner started with husband Ike and had some huge hits with him. “Proud Mary” was the biggest of the era. It was an abusive relationship she later made a movie about that included some of her biggest hits of the 1980’s titled “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. Her Mad Max and the Thunderdome soundtrack was very successful as well. Tina was born on November 26, 1939. Her “Private Dancer” album was a huge 80’s work as well. Her first greatest hits album was titled “Simply the Best”.

2. Diana Ross was as good as a Motown ladies group leader got. Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard and she started the Supremes. Mary Wilson was lead singer until a record contract was at stake. Berry Gordy moved Diana to the lead spot. Mary Wilson would write in her book it was because of Diana and Berry’s personal relationship. However since they broke up in 1970, how many big Mary Wilson hits have there been? The Supremes had hits like “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love” Come See About Me” and on it goes. Diana’s solo career has been big as well. “Touch Me in the Morning”, Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To) and “Love Hangover” are some of her solo hits. She played Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues” and Dorothy in “The Wiz”. Diana was born on March 26, 1944.

1. Aretha was born “The Queen of Soul” on March 25, 1942. No one has ever been a bigger soul artist. She has recorded twenty number one R&B singles. Her biggest and signature song is “Respect”. Other hits included “Chain of Fools”, “Baby I Love You” and “(You Make Me feel Like) A Natural Woman. Steely Day in “Hey Nineteen” complained that a young lady did not know who “The Queen of Soul” was. And I never bought it. I bet even today, all these years later, a nineteen year old knows Aretha. OR perhaps they just don’t like music.

We hope that you enjoy this feature.
If you have a suggestion for A DJ's Take please email us at
WTIT: The Blog.
Tomorrow brings Friday and Dating Profiles.
Join us unless you actually have a life.
In that case, live it. We will be right here at WTIT.
Same time. Same blog.

WTIT Top 10 R&B Male Singers

WTIT: The Blog today brings you our featured called A DJ’s Take and another of our "Best of" lists. Today we bring you our Top 10 Male R&B Singers of all time. Please feel free to “take this feature" and do it as a meme to present your opinions. Today, we will share. We will do R&B Female Singers in the future. We will give you the artist and a bit of their bio. Let’s cue up today's A DJ's Take!

10. Michael Jackson started with The Jackson 5, his brothers. Their biggest hits were “ABC” and “I Want You Back”. Before the weirdness (which we can’t ignore and is why he is this low on our list) his solo career included one of the best and biggest selling albums of all time, “Thriller”. In the mid-80’s he was a huge superstar. When he fell, he fell hard. He was working on a comeback when he passed away in 2009 at the age of 50.

9. Phillip Bailey was the lead vocalist of Earth, Wind and Fire. Phillip was born in 1951. Earth, Wind & Fire's biggest hits included, “Reasons”, “Shining Star”, “Head to the Sky” and “Fantasy”. He had a less successful solo career with his biggest hit being “Easy Lover” with Phil Collins. His latest album was released in 2002

8. Otis Redding was born in 1941. He was not with us long. He started recording in the early 60’s and as “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay” became his biggest hit, Otis was killed in a plane crash in December 1967.

7. Lionel Richie was born in 1949 in Alabama. He started as the lead singer of The Commodores in the early seventies. The Commodores had hits including “Three Times a Lady, “Brickhouse” and “Easy”. In the 80’s Lionel began a solo career that was just as big. He had a monster hit with Diana Ross in 1981 “Endless Love”.

6. Levi Stubbs was born Levi Stubbles in 1936. My favorite Motown group were The Four Tops. Levi was their lead singer from their inception until he found out he had cancer in 1995. “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”, “I Can’t Help Myself”, “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “It’s the Same Old Song” were just a few of the Four Tops hits. He was their only lead singer until his retirement. Levi passed away in 2008.

5. David Ruffin was not in The Temptations at the very beginning, joining in 1964. He was with them in their heyday. David was born in 1941. “My Girl”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “I Wish It Would Rain” are some of his lead vocals with The Temps. He left The Temptations in 1968 and did not return until the 1984 reunion tour and left for good after the concerts. He died in June of 1991 and Aretha and Stevie Wonder performed at his funeral.

4. Eddie Kendrick was born in 1939 and was in The Temptations from the start from 1961 to 1971. He rejoined for 1982 as the original band got back together briefly. He was the lead singer on many Temps classics including “The Way You Do the Thing You Do”, “Just My Imagination” and “Get Ready”. In his solo career “Keep on Trucking" was as big a number one song as he had. Eddie passed away from cancer in 1992.

3. Marvin Gaye was born in 1939. His major hits during the Motown years included “Aint That Peculiar” and “How Sweet It is to Be Loved By You”. One of his biggest hits Motown founder Berry Gordy hated and refused to release. It was a song about social and political change in 1971. Gordy relented and when “What’s Going On” was a huge hit he told Marvin he would never question his choices again. On April 1, 1984 Marvin was shot to death by his father during an argument.

2. Smokey Robinson was born in 1940. With his band, The Miracles from 1960 to 1971, Smokey cranked out the hits including “I Second the Emotion” and “You Really Got a Hold on Me”. He wrote and produced for other Motown groups. It’s a long list but right at the top is “My Girl” recorded by The Temptations.

1. Stevie Wonder born Steveland Morris in 1950, Stevie has had us since his first release of “Fingertips, Part 2” in 1963. He had megahits in the Motown era like “If You Really Love Me” or "I Was Made to Love Her", had incredible complex albums like “Talking Book” and “Innervision” in the 70’s and just never stopped. Stevie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 along with The Stones.

We hope you've enjoyed our stroll today.
This list does reflect
The WTIT Tape Radio DJs' age.
Unlike rock, we have not kept up with the genre.
It is mostly because of rap and hip hop.
We will bring you our
"Dating Profile of the Week" tomorrow.
Just have a good laugh on your Friday.
We will be here.
Same time. Same blog.

WTIT Top 10 R&B Songs

On Thursdays the WTIT Tape Radio Blog brings you our featured called A DJ’s Take and another of our "Best of" lists. Today we bring you our Top 10 R&B Singles of all time. There is no rhyme or reason today. Tell us what we missed! Please feel free to “take this feature" and do it as a meme to present your opinions. Today, we will share. We will give you the song and artist. Let’s cue up today's A DJ's Take!

10. Brickhouse – Commodores

9. Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips
8. (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave – Martha Reeves & the Vandellas

7. Reasons – Earth, Wind & Fire

6. (Sitting on the) Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

5. Superstition – Stevie Wonder

4. Tracks of My Tears – Smokey Robison and the Miracles

3. You Keep Me Hanging On – Supremes

2. It’s the Same Old Song – Four Tops

1. My Girl – Temptations

We hope that you enjoy this weekly feature. If you have a suggestion for A Tape DJs' Take please email us at WTIT Tape Radio: The Blog. Tomorrow brings Friday and our "Dating Profiles of the Week". Join us unless you actually have a life. In that case, live it. We will be right here at WTIT.
Same time. Same blog.